A BIG-HEARTED interpreter from Largs is determined to make the town deaf friendly - by getting every local person to learn how to sign.

Karrie McDonald, 30, started signing when she was in primary school after a deaf classmate struggled to communicate with his friends.

Kind Karrie learned the discipline so that she could speak to him and help him feel included - an experience that inspired her to pursue a career in the field.

Her friend's family never forgot her kindness and his sister asked Karrie to sign for him at her wedding more than 20 years later.

She went on to get a degree in deaf studies and has become an interpretor across North Ayrshire.

She said: "It would be amazing if deaf people could go in to the shops in Largs and the staff would be able to communicate with them.

"Not long ago I seen someone trying to ask for a ticket at the train station but the attendant couldn't work out what they were saying.

"I tapped him on the back and he signed what he wanted and I was able to get him the ticket.

"It is little things like that which are really rewarding and I just think that if everyone knew a little sign language it would be so helpful.

"It is not just about being able to hold a conversation with deaf people, its about being respectful."

Karrie is now holding classes in Lounge twice a week, with 30 people already signed up.

She added: "The closest place to learn sign language was probably Glasgow and I just think it needs to be made more accessible.

"We need to change people's conception of sign so they understand how important it is.

"The issue is that becoming an interpretor or taking classes is not funded by the Scottish Government. I had to pay for my degree and go to night classes, as well as working as a manager at Lounge and it cost me around £10,000 to get my degree over five years

"I would love to be able to teach to the schools and get the kids learning sign from a young age.

"My son is 18 months old and he is already signing to me, because he is used to seeing me do it."

Karrie says that it is one of the most rewarding things is the personal bonds signers create.

She said: "I still keep in contact with the boy from primary school.

"What was really nice was that last year his sister asked me to sign her wedding for him and his wife.

"It was really special to be able to do that for them on such a personal day.

"I have met some really incredible people through sign language.

"I actually have an honourary welding certificate because I was signing for a boy that was taking the course, but once the instructions were given he didn't need me, so I just started putting on the mask and doing it as well."

To learn more information about Karrie's classes contact her at karriemcd@googlemail.com